Demystifying AS/NZS ISO 3834 and how it applies to manufacturers.
Many companies have achieved certification to ISO 9001 with respect to their quality management systems. But where significant use is made of a special process like welding, this certification on its own cannot demonstrate the capability of a company to manufacture products of the required quality.
Certification to AS/NZS ISO 3834 Quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials overcomes this shortfall, boosting a company’s ability to sell its products in both domestic and overseas markets.
What is AS/NZS ISO 3834 certification?
AS/NZS ISO 3834 is a factory production control system, drafted to complement – rather than replace – quality management systems such as ISO 9001.
Geoff Crittenden, chief executive officer, Weld Australia, said, “as a factory production control system, certification to AS/NZS ISO 3834 helps businesses operate more efficiently, improving client satisfaction”.
“AS/NZS ISO 3834 certification increases the likelihood of global supply chain opportunities and repeat business, bolstering profitability. Certification helps Australian businesses demonstrate their ability to deliver a compliant, quality fusion welded product on time and to budget.”
“In addition, AS/NZS ISO 3834 is the minimum benchmark for welding quality globally. As more companies become certified to the Standard, those without it will find it harder to win work from local and international suppliers alike,” said Crittenden.
Why you need AS/NZS ISO 3834 certification
Many companies across the world are certified to ISO 9001 for their quality management systems. However, where a special process such as fusion welding is used, ISO 9001 fails to demonstrate the specialist capability required by a company to manufacture products according to the necessary quality standard.
AS/NZS ISO 3834 certification overcomes this shortfall by controlling the entire lifecycle of the welding process, from design right through to inspection. AS/NZS ISO 3834 considers all aspects that could affect weld quality.
This type of approach is essential because it is impossible to undertake complete verification of a welded joint without destroying it. Unfortunately, inspection after completion does not guarantee weld serviceability. As such, quality must be built into the welding process, right from the beginning.
What is a factory production control system?
A factory product control system is essentially a documented system that enables you to:
- Monitor, document, and demonstrate that you are meeting all the processes, technical specifications, and performance standards required for fusion welded products.
- Keep records of any non- conforming products, processes, or materials to make any requisite improvements.
AS/NZS ISO 3834 builds factory production control into welding management to ensure quality, optimise manufacturing costs, and reduce expensive repairs and rework. Factory product control is a structured approach that covers the seven main phases of the welding process, as outlined below.
1. Requirements and technical review
Before submitting a proposal, manufacturers have a duty to review contractual and other requirements to confirm that all required information and specifications are available,
and the scope of work is within their capabilities. This review process helps avoids costly misunderstandings and variations after the quotation or purchase order stage. It also gives the client confidence that the welded product will not only be compliant but will be delivered on time and to budget.
Manufacturers often sub-contract out parts of the fabrication process (such as welding, inspection, NDT, heat treatment, and so on), while retaining ultimate responsibility for the quality of the product delivered. Evaluation, control, transmission, and recording of documentation and information pertaining to sub- contractor processes ensures that all specifications and quality standards are met as if the process had been handled in-house.
AS/NZS ISO 3834 increases the technical knowledge of all levels of personnel involved in the welding process, from trades and inspectors, through to supervisors and management. Increased technical understanding ensures that the workforce possesses all necessary capabilities and authority to deliver each project. In addition, having well defined roles and responsibilities for personnel helps optimise the production process by avoiding duplication and omission of tasks.
3.1 The welding coordinator
AS/NZS ISO 3834 emphasises the importance of the welding coordinator. Usually, welding roles and tasks are shared among a team of several people, under the leadership of a nominated welding coordinator. As they assume responsibility for all welding activities, the knowledge and competency of the welding coordinator is of paramount importance. Companies that are not ready to train or employ a welding coordinator can sub-contract out this responsibility.
Maintaining accurate, up-to-date equipment records enables manufacturers to provide potential clients an immediate snapshot of their capabilities and can help manufacturers identify areas for expansion.
In addition, accurate records help ensure that equipment undergoes regular safety and performance inspections and maintenance, keeping productivity high and minimising delays due to equipment break-downs.
The five “Ps”; proper planning prevents poor performance. Detailed planning of welding activities, from the fabrication sequence through to the development of welding procedures and environmental constraints, enables a manufacturer to accurately estimate project scope and timeframe. In-depth project planning, from the tender to the delivery of the product, instils confidence in the client that the product will be delivered within the promised timeframe.
It is impossible to make a complete verification of a welded joint without destroying it. As such, inspection after completion does not guarantee weld serviceability. Quality must be built into the welded joint, with inspections carried out prior to, during, and after welding. By maintaining detailed records of inspections and non-conformance issues, manufacturers can deliver quality welded products, and convert every non-conformance issue into an opportunity for improvement.
7. Storage and traceability
The materials used in production contribute significantly to the quality of the final welded product. The correct plates, forgings, castings, and consumables must be selected during the procurement phase. All these materials must then be carefully stored to avoid mixing, scrapping, and damage, as well as the use of unidentifiable materials.
Keeping in-depth, accurate storage and traceability records gives clients peace of mind that a manufacturer has full control over its processes and, therefore, the final product. Storage and traceability records also help manufacturers maintain rigorous expense management processes and reduce unnecessary waste and product rejection.
Why choose Weld Australia for Certification?
Not only is Weld Australia a highly respected independent third-party, we are the International Institute of Welding’s (IIW) authorised national body. This makes Weld Australia the premier welding certification body in Australia.
As such, Weld Australia certification to AS/NZS ISO 3834 is internationally recognised, and highly regarded and respected throughout Australia’s welding and industrial sectors.
For further information, visit https://iso3834.com.au/ or contact Weld Australia at: firstname.lastname@example.org.